On March 15, magistreate Derrick Watson suspended the directive of President Donald Trump, who also wants to prevent the arrival of refugees from any country, but in that case it was only a temporary restriction, scheduled to last two weeks.
This means that the ban on the grant of visas for 90-day to citizens of Syria, Yemen, Iran, Libya, Somalia and Sudan, and the suspension of the refugee reception program for four months, will remain without coming into force unless a higher court changes Watson’s order.
Authorities in Hawaii consider as discriminatory and detrimental to the economy of the territory the order signed by the president on March 6, which is a version of another directive passed in January and which was also stopped in court.
By its part, government lawyers say the new decree stands within the president’s power to protect national security and that no element of the measure, as it is written, could be interpreted as a veto against travelers for religious reasons.
Such arguments did not convince Watson, who considered that the order violates the clause establishing the Constitution, which prohibits religious discrimination.
The decision on Wednesday struck a new blow to Trump’s controversial immigration policies, which have provoked mobilizations and protests inside and outside the United States.
Local media said the Justice Department is likely to appeal the ruling immediately to the San Francisco, California-based 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, although it is unclear how long it will take to complete that process.
Other courts issued different judgments to the one in Hawaii this month, since while a Maryland magistrate stopped only part of the travel veto, one from Virginia backed the administration by ruling in favor of the executive order.
Faced with that division, it is expected that the case will end in the Supreme Court, which currently has eight members since the Senate has not yet confirmed Neil Gorsuch, nominated by Trump to occupy the ninth and last position of the country’s main judicial body.